press review

Lil’Ed in Florida with the Chicago Tribune

Lil’ Ed of The Blues Imperials flashes his signature smile onstage at the BBC. / Photo
Nancy Moreland for the Chicago Tribune

For a bluesman, Lil’ Ed Williams looks mighty cheerful. His silver fez and million-watt smile sparkle in the neon aura of the Bradfordville Blues Club, a rural outpost of musical history about 12 miles northeast of downtown Tallahassee.

When a patron shouts, “It’s a lot warmer here than Chicago!” the slide guitar king and lead singer for The Blues Imperials banters back, “You got that right, brother!”

Even with his hometown in a polar vortex death grip, it’s not the Southern climate warming the singer’s heart on this January night; it’s the venue — a cinder-block juke joint at the end of a dark, rutted lane.

“When you drive up that lane, you turn the clock back 50 years,” says club owner Gary Anton. One of two Florida sites on the Mississippi Blues Trail, the “BBC” rocks the woods with soulful sounds every weekend. The 1960s-era road house isn’t easy to find, but for musicians of a certain ilk, it’s a holy grail.

“You only find clubs like Bradfordville here and there,” Williams says. “I love that club and hope it always stays that way.”

The band joins a legendary lineup of musicians whose soul-baring ballads have pierced the country quiet….

Read the rest of the “Florida juke joint a living time capsule of blues history” story, written by Nancy Moreland in the Chicago Tribune.

“Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials jam the night away”

Out in the woods and under the starlight, some of the most famous and well-established blues artists have performed at the historic Bradfordville Blues Club as a camp fire burns through the night. The club, open every weekend, hosted Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials on January 26th…
Lil’ Ed has a knack for having a good time. Their fast and rhythmic music balances well with their slower tunes, which were warm and heartfelt like the campfire nearby that burns all night at the Blues Club.

By Chris Wilkinson, in FSU News, after Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials’ performance on January 26, 2019, at the Bradfordville Blues Club, in Tallahassee, Florida.

Clevescene: “Lil’ Ed consistently keeps the energy level high”

Lil’ Ed Williams might play the blues but he decidedly steers clear of clichés about being broke and desperate. Rather, the guy revels in letting the good times roll. For the bulk of his career, which started back in 1986 with his appropriately titled debut Roughhousin’, Williams has embraced blues’ rowdy, roadhouse side.

A 2012 effort, Jump Start kicks off with “If You Were Mine,” a high-octane number for which Williams cranks up his guitar, and never lets up as Williams indulges in a little Stevie Ray Vaughan-like blues on “Kick Me to the Curb” and consistently keeps the energy level high.

By Jeff Niesel before Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials show this coming Saturday at the Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland, Ohio. Read the full story in Clevescene.

“Electrifying, emotionally intense and downright fun”

The Big Sound of Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials is musically electrifying, emotionally intense and downright fun. It features Lil’ Ed Williams’ incendiary guitar playing and soulful, passionate singing, with the ragged-but-right Blues Imperials cooking like mad alongside him. …

Live, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials simply can’t be beat as Ed breaks out the deepest back-bends, the highest toe-walks, and the most authentic electric slide-guitar blues being played today. Garrett’s risk-taking rhythm guitar work and Littleton’s unpredictable, old school drumming perfectly complement Lil’ Ed’s and Pookie’s rambunctious playing. Their energetic and spontaneous live show remains legendary among blues fans worldwide. …

In Milwaukee Community Journal, before Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials’ performance on Friday, January 11, 2019, at Shank Hall in Milwaukee.

Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials on WKAR’s BackStage Pass

Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials recording for BackStage Pass at the 2017 Michigan BluesFest – Photo: Amanda Pinckney/WKAR-MSU

World-renowned Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have been performing for nearly 30 years. Led by front man Lil’ Ed with his rough-edged, soulful vocals, this group is as real and hard-hitting as Chicago blues gets. The Chicago Sun-Times says, “Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials are the hottest purveyors of bottleneck boogie to come out of Chicago since Hound Dog Taylor…

This 30-year-old band fuels the stage with big blues sound.

WKAR, public media from Michigan State University, will first air Episode 906 of its BackStage Pass show on December 8, 2018, at 10 pm on WKAR-HD 23.1. 

The show is already available for WKAR members. “Fun and spontaneous live shows”

Playing since he was 12, Lil’ Ed, or Ed for short, has become a masterful blues musician over decades of playing, performing, and touring. Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have received critical praise from the likes of The Washington Post and The New York Times, among many more, for their skillfully rendered and soulful blues music. They’re also regarded for their fun and spontaneous live shows, giving fans a reason to get up on their feet and celebrate…

Grace Carlic put Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials in her list of “7 shows to see”, before the band’s performance at Funk ‘n Waffles, in Syracuse, New York, this Thursday, November 16.

Read the full story in

The Press of Atlantic City: “As real and hard-hitting as Chicago blues gets”

In Chicago, a city overflowing with unrivaled blues talent, world-renowned Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have been standing tall for almost 30 years. The band’s big sound, fueled by Lil’ Ed’s gloriously rollicking slide work and deep blues string bending, along with his rough-edged, soulful vocals, is as real and hard-hitting as Chicago blues gets.

In The Press of Atlantic City, before Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials show, on October 14, at the Lizzie Rose Music Room, in Tuckerton, New Jersey, on October 14.

“Smoking slide guitar boogies and raw-boned shuffle”

Currently celebrating 30 history-making years together, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials ply their musical talents with skills that have been honed to a razor’s edge. Mixing smoking slide guitar boogies and raw-boned shuffles with the deepest slow-burners, Lil’ Ed Williams and his Blues Imperials — bassist (and Ed’s half-brother) James “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton — deliver gloriously riotous, rollicking and intensely emotional blues.

In the Shepherd Express, before Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials’ performances as part of the Peanut Butter & Jam Concert Series in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Thursday, August 16, 2018. Read the full story in the Shepherd Express

The North Atlantic Blues Festival “with style”

The 25th North Atlantic Blues Festival got off to a rousing start Saturday, July 14, under partly cloudy skies. Festival-goers enjoyed a light breeze, which kept things cooler than in some previous years.

And the music followed! “Blues Festival celebrates 25 years in style,” wrote Sarah E. Reyolds, who published photos of Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials for her review of the North Atlantic Blues Festival which took place in Rockland, Maine, on July 14 and 15.

Lil’ Ed takes the stage with his Blues Imperials Sunday afternoon, July 15, at the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland © Sarah E. Reyolds

Photographers crowd in front of the stage to get a shot of Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials July 15 © Sarah E. Reyolds

Lil’ Ed and some of the Blues Imperials delight the crowd at the North American Blues Festival July 15 in Rockland © Sarah E. Reyolds

Read the full story on Knox Village Soup.


“Big sound, big entertainment, lots of fun”

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials (3:15 p.m.) is known for big sound — and big entertainment. Expect great Chicago blues and lots of on-stage, and in-audience, fun.

Lil’Ed & The Blues Imperials will give some “Blues we can use”, according to Dagney C. Ernest, before his performance on Sunday, July 15, at 25th North Atlantic Blues Festival, in Rockland, Maine.

Read the full story in Village Soup Knox.